An open living space of a home with wall-to-wall hurricane windows

When hurricanes arise, hurricane windows provide an added layer of protection for your home that can help secure your residence and family against high winds during one of nature’s most powerful storms.

Manufacturers make hurricane windows to withstand winds up to two-hundred miles per hour, which is even higher than the record-breaking Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 in Florida that still holds the record for the highest recorded wind speed of 185 mph.

But, you may wonder if they offer any benefits for your home’s energy efficiency?

Are Hurricane Windows Energy-Efficient?

Besides offering added protection from hurricane-force winds, hurricane windows are more energy-efficient than standard residential windows. They have heavy-duty construction and use high-performance glass that makes them better at insulating your home from extreme temperatures outside.

Keep reading to learn more about what these windows are and the benefits of installing energy-efficient hurricane windows in your home.

What Are Hurricane Windows?

Hurricane windows are residential windows made with layers of shatter-resistant laminated glass. They are designed to withstand the impact of high winds during the tumultuous storms and hurricanes experienced in the Southern US. 

You can customize hurricane windows to match the exterior of your home’s décor, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for functionality.

Shatter-resistant features built into today’s hurricane windows help protect your home and belongings in a devastating hurricane that can lift objects off the ground and hurl them at your house, smashing windows and doors. 

Manufacturers design hurricane windows to prevent them from breaking into sharp projectiles during hurricane-force winds.

The tempered glass used in hurricane windows is four times stronger than standard annealed glass. In the event of a hurricane window breaking, tempered glass makes it break into dull pieces instead of shattering into dangerous slivers and shards of glass.  

A hurricane window with a crack and buildings across the street reflecting off the glass

Impact-resistant hurricane windows can help coastal homeowners reduce the likelihood of internal and structural damage from flying glass, debris, rain, and storm winds. 

For more information about where hurricanes commonly strike, there is an interesting piece titled The 10 US States Where Hurricanes Hit Most Often that’s worth a read.

How Fast are Hurricane Wind Speeds?

Scientists use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale to categorize hurricanes by wind speeds and the amount of catastrophic damage they’ve caused since 1851. 

The scale has five categories. Each represents an increase in wind speeds, life-threatening hurricane surges, and the likelihood of severe permanent damage to residential structures and homes. 

Hurricane-force winds start with wind speeds of 75 mph but can reach more than 150 mph

If you live in a hurricane-prone area like Florida, Texas, or North Carolina, it is better to be safe than sorry. Investing in hurricane windows can save you a lot of money on making household repairs after a storm. 

Which States Have the Most Hurricanes?

Florida has more hurricanes than any other state in the US. Floridians prep for the Atlantic hurricane season by fortifying their homes, installing hurricane windows, and preparing emergency hurricane kits to see them through blackouts that can last for days. 

According to Universal Property, over 40% of hurricanes that have hit the US directly hit or skirted the state of Florida and nearby areas. 

A Florida beach during a hurricane with strong wind blowing against the water and palm trees

Hurricane Windows – Steps to Protect Your Home and Family

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1st – November 30th each year. Oceanic experts at NOAA predict that 2022 will see a more active hurricane season than we’ve seen in recent years. 

Predictions of an unusually active hurricane season have residents who live in coastal and hurricane-prone areas scrambling to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season by installing or upgrading energy-efficient hurricane windows. 

Hurricane-prone areas and coastal cities in Florida, Texas, and North Carolina legally require homeowners to install protective measures such as hurricane impact-resistant windows to decrease the likelihood of personal injury and property damage during the hurricane season. 

Some of the protective measures commonly used include:

  • Plywood boards temporarily installed over the outside of the windows
  • Hurricane fabric, which is made from durable woven material like Kevlar and held in place over the windows using grommets and wing nuts or buckles and straps
  • Hurricane shutters permanently installed on the building and closed across the windows before a hurricane arrives
  • Hurricane screens rolled down ahead of a hurricane’s arrival to protect windows and openings such as lanais
  • Hurricane impact windows, which are a passive measure that require no preparation before a storm hits

Most of these options won’t give you the money-saving benefits of energy-efficient hurricane windows protecting the structure of your home and keeping your household safe. 

Investing in well-manufactured hurricane windows can help you save money while making you and your family feel more secure during hurricane season. 

Where are Hurricane Windows Legally Required?

Residents of hurricane-prone states like Florida are legally required to adhere to the Florida Building Code (FBC). The FBC requires residents to install protective measures such as hurricane-resistant and impact-resistant windows in residential homes. 

Along with helping protect your home from wind, rain, and water damage in a tropical storm, hurricane windows also help reinforce the structure of residential homes and increase their energy efficiency. 

How Energy Efficient are Hurricane Windows?

Having sturdy, impact-resistant hurricane windows installed in your home can help improve your home’s energy efficiency for heating and cooling. 

This improvement is due to the unique layered construction of hurricane windows and their use of special glass with a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).

A couple of homeowners installing a window inside their home

Energy-efficient windows provide more insulation than standard windows and keep homes cool in the summer and warmer in the winter by regulating the amount of heat and sunlight coming through the glass. 

The government’s Energy Star website estimates that replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star-certified ones could save the average householder between $101 and $583 per year.

Today’s energy-efficient windows also reflect harmful UV rays, preventing them from entering the home and causing weathering and fading of furniture. They use special coatings to keep out the UV rays and reduce fading of furniture and other belongings by up to 75%.

Do Energy Efficient Windows Save You Money in Florida?

The US Department of Energy reports that having energy-efficient windows in residential homes is one of the best investments you can make.

Hurricane windows can help reduce the cost of utilities while protecting your home from high winds and seasonal hurricanes.

But, exactly how much money can they save you?

According to the government’s Energy Star website, householders in southern states such as Florida could save around $280 per year on heating and cooling costs when installing energy-efficient windows in favor of single-pane windows. 

What Makes Hurricane Windows More Energy Efficient?

Whether you’re a new homeowner or a first-time homebuyer building your home, it’s critical to understand how adding energy-efficient windows and appliances can help keep you safe and save money. 

Many of today’s new homes have standard “builder-grade” windows. Installing hurricane windows in tropical areas and areas prone to seasonal hurricane activity is one of the best ways to protect your investment while saving on monthly heating and cooling costs. 

Hurricane impact windows are more energy-efficient thanks to the following features:

  • Tighter window seals
  • Multiple layers of glass 
  • More insulation in the thicker frame
  • Low-emissivity coatings reflect UV rays and reduce solar heat gain.
  • The cavity between the panes of glass is filled with Argon gas, which increases the level of insulation

Not only do hurricane windows help reduce the impact of high winds during hurricanes, but they can also help homeowners increase window performance and improve energy efficiency year-round. 

Energy-Efficient Hurricane Windows Near You

Want to learn more about having energy-efficient hurricane windows installed in your home and not sure where to get started?

When you’re ready to increase the structural integrity of your home and save money on heating and cooling costs, the first step is to talk to a local window expert. 

Professionally-trained window installers can assess the needs of homeowners and install protective windows with specialized coatings that improve the energy efficiency of residential homes.

A homeowner on a ladder installing hurricane window panes above an interior door in his home

They can talk you through the best energy-efficient hurricane windows that fall within your budget and match your exterior decor. In addition, many hurricane window installers offer a free consultation to come to your home and assess your individual needs.

How Much Do Hurricane Windows Cost? 

The cost of installing hurricane windows will vary according to the specific project. According to Forbes.com, prices can range from $160 per window for aluminum or steel-framed to $200 for a vinyl-framed window, and up to $290 for wooden frames.

During a home assessment, a local window expert will explain the benefits and costs of installing protective windows in your home. They’ll walk you through the installation procedure and tell you what to expect step-by-step. 

If you’re concerned about the cost of installing hurricane windows, don’t let these concerns stop you from taking the proper steps to protect your home and family. Instead, talk to a window expert to discuss your concerns. 

The good news is that many hurricane-prone states offer residents financial incentives and rebates for installing shatter-resistant, energy-efficient hurricane windows.

Summary

Hurricanes can inflict massive damage on your home, so protective measures are crucial to avoid spending heaps of money on repair and rebuilding work after a storm.

Hurricane impact windows are an excellent option for storm protection because they are a passive measure, requiring no preparation before the storm arrives (unlike plywood boarding or shutters that need to be drawn across the windows).

In addition to convenience, energy-efficient hurricane windows can save you money on your energy bills. They come in versions that include special features such as Argon-filled glazing and low-emissivity coatings, which both help make the windows more energy-efficient and lower your utility bills.

The cost of installing hurricane impact windows will vary according to the needs of your project and budget, so it is vital to speak to a professional installation company to get a clear idea of the cost before deciding what’s suitable for you.

If you’re keen to learn more, we’ve put together an article that sets out the top 10 benefits of hurricane windows, which you can read here.

Not ready to commit to installing hurricane impact windows just yet? Why not read our article covering 12 ways to improve the eco-friendliness of your windows?

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